Celebrate 50 Years of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival!

This year’s Folklife Festival brings the Big Top to the National Mall



The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of DC’s most anticipated annual events kicks off today! Taking place on the National Mall between 7th and 12th Streets from June 29 – July 4 then July 6-9, this year’s event — the 50th! — celebrates themes of Circus Arts and On the Move.

I highly recommend experiencing this Festival every year! There is such a wonderful and interesting variety of activities, performances, demonstrations, and exhibits that really delve into the cultures and concepts being showcased, with plenty for all ages to enjoy.

This year’s Circus Arts sounds especially appealing, as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlights its rich history, mystique, and diversity. Along with thrilling performances, we’ll get insight into the life behind the shows and the people who keep circus arts alive and engaging, along with the many kinds of creative work that brings it all together.

On the Move explores how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States. Focusing on youth, culture, and migration, it highlights the social power of tradition and art, and focuses on how young people assume responsibility as bridge builders among communities, generations, and to the future.

Festival hours are 11am – 5pm each day it runs, with the opening ceremony at 10am this first day, and evening dance parties at 5:30pm and circus performances most nights at 7pm. Admission to all of it is free. For more information, including the schedule of events, visit the Festival website.

When you plan to go…

*Be aware that the National Mall will likely be crowded during this time. Besides the influx of tourists to DC during the summer, the July 4th celebration draws even more crowds, especially in the days leading up to the Independence Day event (on the day of, it’s jam-packed). Even with the extra bustle, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a signature DC event that is so worth checking out. We go at some point every year and are continually impressed with the variety and quality of festivities.
*Generally, I always recommend taking Metro to the Mall — the Smithsonian stop is on the Blue/Orange line, and L’Enfant on Blue/Orange & Yellow/Green is also nearby.
*Concessions will be for sale at the event, plus there are cafes and eateries in most of the museums.
*Don’t let the heat deter you — the museums are easy to pop into if you need to cool off!


4 Comments

Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

4 Responses to Celebrate 50 Years of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival!

  1. Good to know about the circus theme! And, I love the idea of heading down for a dance party. Thanks for sharing!

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      You’re welcome! I already heard great things about the circus acts. And dance parties are never a bad thing 🙂

  2. Tara

    My daughter was there today (with Grandma) and had an AMAZING time. She was literally jumping up and down with excitement when she told me about it afterwards. The circus acts sound fantastic. If you’re like our family and always kind of wanted to check out the Festival but never quite made it there, this is the year to go!

    (PS Because I’m not sure whether I’ve ever left a comment on KFDC before, also wanted to compliment the site. You share such useful information, thanks!)

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Tara, thanks for letting us know! We’ve been hearing really great things about festival and circus – we can’t wait to check it out ourselves. (Also, thanks for the compliment. 🙂 )

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